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Basil faces upgraded murder charge in Sager's death

Chris Caya/WBFO News

Former Molly's Pub manager Jeffrey Basil now faces a murder charge in the death of William Sager Jr. Basil, 36, was arraigned Monday morning in Buffalo on a superseding indictment following Sager's death in late July. He is being held without bail.

The District Attorney's office alleges Basil "launched" Sager down a flight of stairs inside the Main Street bar on the early morning of May 11. Sager, 28, died July 31 after more than two months in a coma.

Basil has been charged with murder in the second degree and manslaughter in the first degree. Assistant Erie County District Attorney Christopher Belling urged the judge not to release him.

"The defendant has a checkered history as a thug. He has, from age 16, been a violent bully and he has a felony conviction to prove it. He has a number of misdemeanor convictions in between," said Belling.

Basil's defense attorney, Joel Daniels, entered a not guilty plea on his client's behalf.

"Intoxication can be a defense to those intentional crimes," Daniels told reporters after the court proceeding.

"You're talking about an incident that happened in a tavern at 2 o'clock in the morning. Let's face it, almost everybody in that bar was either drunk, almost drunk, or wanting to get drunk," Daniels added.

A trial date has been set for January 5. If convicted, Basil faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

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